Melon butterflyfish

Not to be confused with Chaetodon trifascialis (Chevron Butterflyfish). See also Chaetodon tricinctus (Three-striped Butterflyfish) and Three-banded Butterflyfish.
Melon Butterflyfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaetodontidae
Genus: Chaetodon (but see text)
Subgenus: Corallochaetodon
Species: C. (C.) trifasciatus
Binomial name
Chaetodon (Corallochaetodon) trifasciatus
Park, 1797

The Melon Butterflyfish[1], Chaetodon trifasciatus, is a species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae). It is found in the Indian Ocean from East Africa to Western Java. This is one species of a closely related group which includes the Black-tailed Butterflyfish (C. austriacus) of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and the Oval Butterflyfish (C. lunulatus) which is found in the western Pacific, from eastern coasts of the Indonesian islands to Australia.[2]

The Oval Butterflyfish and the Black-tailed Butterflyfish resemble C. trifasciatus in coloration. The former has a less conspicuous back patch below the dorsal fin and a mainly dark anal fin, while the latter has black caudal and anal fins.[2]

Melon, Black-tailed and Oval butterflyfishes and probably also the somewhat aberrant Arabian Butterflyfish (C. melapterus) make up the subgenus Corallochaetodon, of which C. trifasciatus is the type species. They are probably quite close to the subgenus called "Citharoedus" (that name is a junior homonym of a mollusc genus), which contains for example the Scrawled Butterflyfish (C. meyeri). Like that group, they might be separated in Megaprotodon if the genus Chaetodon is split up.[3]

The Melon Butterflyfish is found at depths between 2 and 20 m, in coral-rich lagoons and semi-protected seaward reefs. Small juveniles are secretive and hide in corals. Growing to a maximum of 15cm long, the monogamous adults swim in pairs and may be territorial and aggressive to other Chaetodon. Melon Butterflyfish feed exclusively on coral polyps, particularly of Pocillopora. They are oviparous.[4]


  1. ^ Lieske & Myers (2004)
  2. ^ a b Lieske & Myers (2004), FishBase (2008)
  3. ^ Fessler & Westneat (2007), Hsu et al. (2007)
  4. ^ FishBase [2008]


  • Fessler, Jennifer L. & Westneat, Mark W. (2007): Molecular phylogenetics of the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae): Taxonomy and biogeography of a global coral reef fish family. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(1): 50–68. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.05.018 (HTML abstract)
  • FishBase [2008]: Chaetodon trifasciatus. Retrieved 2008-SEP-01.
  • Hsu, Kui-Ching; Chen, Jeng-Ping & Shao, Kwang-Tsao (2007): Molecular phylogeny of Chaetodon (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: evolution in geminate species pairs and species groups. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 77-86. PDF fulltext
  • Lieske, E. & Myers, R.F. (2004): Coral reef guide – Red Sea. HarperCollins, London. ISBN 0-00-715986-2

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